IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-June 2019

  1. Mount sinabung, which has seen a spike in activity since 2010, erupted for around nine minutes on 9th june, 2019 , sending clouds of volcanic ash 7 km into the sky. Mount sinabung, which is 2,460 m high, is among indonesia’s most active volcanoes, but had been inactive for four centuries before its 2010 eruption. Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country. It is particularly prone to seismic activity due to its location on the “ring of fire,”an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the pacific basin.
  2. The unhcr #ibelong campaign was launched in november 2014. Together with states, civil society and other un agencies, it aims to end statelessness by 2024 by resolving existing statelessness, preventing new cases from emerging and better identifying and protecting stateless populations.
  3. Parole is a system of releasing a prisoner with suspension of the sentence. The release is conditional, usually subject to behaviour, and requires periodic reporting to the authorities for a set period of time. Parole is considered a reformative process, and the provision (along with furlough) was introduced with a view to humanizing the prison system.
  4. Juneteenth is considered the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the united states. The term juneteenth is a blend of the words june and nineteenth. The holiday has also been called juneteenth independence day or freedom day.
  5. WPI represents the price of goods at a wholesale stage i.e. Goods that are sold in bulk. Wpi is used as a measure of inflation in some economies. Wpi is used as an important measure of inflation in india. Fiscal and monetary policy changes are greatly influenced by changes in wpi. In the united states, the producer price index (ppi) is used to measure inflation. Wholesale inflation, measured by wpi, tracks year-on-year inflation at the producer or factory gate level and is a marker for price movements in the purchase of bulk inputs by traders. Cpi, captures changes in price levels at the shop end, and is, thereby, reflective of the inflation experienced at the level of consumers.
  6. A team of scientists from delhi university and the wildlife institute of india, in collaboration with researchers from indonesia and the us, have discovered a new species of ‘paddy frog’ from northeast india, primarily assam. The frog belongs to the microhylid genus micryletta, a “group of narrow-mouthed frogs that is primarily and widely distributed in southeast asia, more commonly known as paddy frogs”. The new species has been named ‘aishani’, derived from the sanskrit word ‘aishani’ or aisani meaning northeast. The new species is likely to be more widely distributed in northeast india, particularly the indo-burma biodiversity hotspot region that lies south of river brahmaputra. Micryletta aishani is currently endemic to northeast india but it could very well be present in neighbouring regions of bangladesh and myanmar scientists said the new species strikingly differs from other narrow-mouthed paddy frogs by characteristics such as reddish-brown colouration on back. Dna analyses suggested that other “undescribed species in this genus” could be in existence in regions such as laos, thailand, and vietnam. The first known species of this genus was originally described from sumatra in indonesia. As of now, there are only four recognised species in this group, and micryletta aishani becomes the fifth.
  7. He   was   a   chola   emperor   from   present   day   south   india   who   ruled   over the chola kingdom of medieval tamil nadu (parts of southern india), parts of northern india, two thirds of sri lankan territory, maldives and parts of east asia, between 985 and 1014  During his reign, the texts of the tamil poets appar, sambandar and sundarar were collected and edited into one compilation called thirumurai. Rajaraja died in 1014 ce and was succeeded by his son rajendra chola. Rajaraja was a follower of shaivism but he was tolerant towards other faiths and had several temples for vishnu constructed and encouraged the construction of the buddhist chudamani vihara at the request of the srivijaya king sri maravijayatungavarman. Rajaraja built the brihadisvara temple or peruvudaiyar kovil in thanjavur, one of the largest hindu temples
  8. 21 june marks the beginning of summer season. June 21 is the longest day of the year 2019 as it marks the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.
  9. World Continence Week (wcw) is an annual initiative devised and managed by the world federation of incontinence patients (wfip), with the approval of the international continence society. It is a global initiative intended to raise awareness of bladder weakness, pelvic pain, and other debilitating conditions that impact greatly on the lives of patients and carers.
  10. Once “over active bladder” (oab) is considered a medical condition of the elderly population, but now it is catching the younger generation, particularly, women and is estimated to affect approximately one in six adults.
  11. The tax-to-gdp ratio is a ratio of a nation’s tax revenue relative to its gross domestic product (gdp). The tax-to-gdp ratio is used in conjunction with other metrics to measure how much a nation’s government controls its economic resources. Tax revenue is the income collected by governments through taxation. It includes revenues from taxes on income, social security contributions, product sales tax, payroll taxes, and other items. Policymakers and analysts use the tax-to-gdp ratio to compare tax receipts from year to year. In most cases, because taxes are related to economic activity, the ratio should stay relatively consistent. Consequently, as the gross domestic product (gdp) grows, tax revenue should increase as well.
  12. India has opened its first specialised hydrotherapy treatment for elephants suffering from arthritis, joint pain and foot ailments. It is situated on the banks of the yamuna in mathura, uttar pradesh. The hospital offers state-of-the-art facilities, including wireless digital x-ray, laser treatment, dental x-ray, thermal imaging and ultrasonography to treat injured, sick and geriatric elephants. Osteoarthritis and foot issues are common ailments. Water resistance is useful for muscle strengthening and cardiovascular training while water pressure can reduce oedema and swelling.
  13. Kerala is gearing up for the launch of the country’s premier solar-powered cruise boat by december. The initiative comes from the state water transport department (swtd), whose solar ferry aditya in the vaikom-thavanakadavu route has proved to be a success. The cruise boat can carry 100 passengers. The hybrid vessel will be powered by a motor that can source energy from solar panels, batteries, and generators. Its battery will have 80 kwh (kilowatt hour) power backup, as compared to 50 kwh backup in aditya. Aditya incurs a rock-bottom energy expense of ₹200 a day, as compared to the approximately ₹8,000 needed for diesel-powered ferries. Solar vessels do not create air and noise pollution.
  14. The p75i project is part of a 30-year submarine building plan that ends in 2030. As part of this, india was to build 24 submarines — 18 conventional submarines and six nuclear-powered submarines (ssns) — as an effective deterrent against china and pakistan. Project 75 india is also the second project being undertaken under the strategic partnership model, with the first being the procurement of 111 naval utility helicopters (nuh).
  15. Kalvari class: ins kalvari is the first of the six scorpene-class submarines built under project 75. The submarine was commissioned on 14 december 2017.
  16. Chakra class: INS chakra is an 8,140-tonne akula class, a nuclear-powered submarine. The submarine was commissioned on 04 april 2012.
  17. Sindhughosh class: sindhughosh class submarines are the kilo-class diesel-electric submarines. They are designated 877 ekm and were built under a contract between rosvooruzhenie and the ministry of defence (india). The submarines have a displacement of 3,000 tonnes, a maximum diving depth of 300 meters, a top speed of 18 knots, and are able to operate solo for 45 days with a crew of 53.
  18. Shishumar class: the shishumar class vessels (type 1500) are diesel-electric submarines. These submarines are developed by the german yard howaldtswerke-deutsche werft (hdw). The first two of these vessels were built by hdw at kiel, while the remainder has been built at mazagon dock limited (mdl) mumbai. The ships were commissioned between 1986 and 1994. These submarines have a displacement of 1660 tons when surfaced, a speed of 22 knots (41 km/h), and a complement of 40 including eight officers. The submarines have the provision of an ikl-designed escape system.
  19. A judge of the high court can be removed from office only for proven misbehaviour or incapacity and only in the same manner in which a judge of the supreme court is removed. The president of india can remove a judge of the high court, from his office only if each house of the parliament passes a resolution by a two third majority of its members present and voting in each house requesting him to remove the judge. As  per  article  217,  the  chief  justice  of  the  high  court  is  appointed  by  the  president  in consultation with the chief justice of india as well as the governor of the state in question. A  collegium  system  has  evolved  over  the  years  in  which  a  collegium  headed  by  the  cji makes recommendation to the government for appointment of judges.
  20. Antimicrobial resistance (amr) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals, and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others. Antibiotic resistance is estimated to kill 50 million by 2050 worldwide.
  21. The world’s largest multi-stage, multi-purpose lift irrigation project will start from july. The kaleshwaram lift irrigation project, an indian lift scheme has become the world’s biggest in terms of capacities. Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project is on the godavari river in kaleshwaram, bhoopalpally, telangana. Till date, the biggest lift schemes in the world were the colorado lift scheme in america and the great manmade river in egypt.
  22. Recently, ‘back to village’ mission mode programme has started in many districts of jammu and kashmir and will continue till june 27 across the state. During this period the entire administrative apparatus of the state government is going to move out of state, provincial and district level offices to reach out to the villages.
  23. Recently, ethnic and colourful kolhapuri chappal get Gi boost. Gi tag will help authorities who want to promote the made-in-karnataka footwear here and abroad. Dr. Babu jagjivan ram leather industries development corporation (lidkar) plans to help artisans export the chappals and also tie up with e-commerce giants. The approval for gi tag was jointly received by karnataka and maharashtra recently for making these chappals. These leather chappals are hand-crafted and tanned using vegetable dyes.
  24. The symptoms of chikungunya are similar to those of dengue and zika, diseases spread by the same mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya.
  25. Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDI) has signed a contract for the supply of heavyweight torpedoes to the indian navy. Bdl has a dedicated unit at visakhapatnam for manufacturing underwater weapons. These torpedoes will be manufactured in collaboration with the drdo. The heavyweight torpedo or varunastra is a ship-launched, electrically propelled underwater weapon equipped with one of the most advanced automatic and remote-controlled guidance systems. The weapon system uses its own intelligence in tracing target.
  26. The Indian navy has deployed its warships in the gulf of oman and the persian gulf to reassure indian vessels operating and transiting in the region under operation sankalp. The indian navy has also begun aerial surveillance in the area. Ins chennai (destroyer class vessel) and ins sunayna (offshore patrol vessel) have been deployed in the gulf of oman and the persian gulf to undertake maritime security operations. The information fusion centre-indian ocean region, was also monitoring the movement of ships in the gulf region. The indian navy remains committed to ensuring the safety of indian maritime trade and merchant vessels operating in the region and contributing towards maintaining a stable and peaceful indian ocean region.
  27. A floating device designed to catch plastic waste has been redeployed in a second attempt to clean up an island in the pacific ocean between california and hawaii. This is a 2,000-foot long floating boom. The device is fitted with solar-powered lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas. With these devices, it intends to communicate its location all the time. The plastic barrier with a tapered 10-foot-deep (3-meter-deep) screen is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.
  28. Gurgaon-based tech-enabled logistics start-up rivigo has launched national freight index. Nfi will provide live freight rates for different lanes and vehicles across the country. The index will bring pricing transparency. Nfi is a step towards easing that crisis and streamlining the sector by giving live spot rates on over 7 million lane and vehicle type combinations in the country.
  29. The air strike by the indian air force (iaf) on a terrorist training camp in balakot, pakistan, was code-named ‘operation bandar’. The operation, titled ‘bandar’, was iaf’s first strike inside pakistan since the 1971 indo-pak war. The ‘pre-emptive’ airstrikes were conducted 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a central reserve police force (crpf) convoy in kashmir, killing at least 40 soldiers. Iaf had deployed 12 mirage 2000 fighter jets for the attack. The plan was to hit the balakot terrorist facility with two separate types of munitions – spice 2000 and the crystal maze. The spice 2000 air-droppable bomb is designed to penetrate structures before exploding. The spice 2000 is a fire and forget weapon. Crystal maze is equipped to send a live video feed of the target as it is being struck. However, a low cloud cover on the night of the attack prevented the iaf from launching crystal maze.
  30. The soyuz (saw-yooz) is a russian spacecraft. Soyuz carries people and supplies to and from the space station. The soyuz can also bring people back to earth. A soyuz has room for three people to ride in it. The spacecraft also brings food and water to the space station. The soyuz has two parts. One part is the soyuz capsule. The second part is the soyuz rocket.
  31. Narco-terrorism is understood to mean the attempts of narcotics traffickers to influence the policies of a government or a society through violence and intimidation and to hinder the enforcement of anti-drug laws by the systematic threat or use of such violence. Narcoterrorism is a term coined by former president fernando belaúnde terry of peru in 1983 when describing terrorist-type attacks against his nation’s anti-narcotics police.
  32. The golden crescent is the name given to one of asia’s two principal areas of illicit opium production (with the other being the golden triangle), located at the crossroads of central, south, and western asia. This space overlaps three nations, afghanistan, iran, and pakistan, whose mountainous peripheries define the crescent.
  33. The golden triangle is the area where the borders of thailand, laos, and myanmar meet at the confluence of the ruak and mekong rivers. The name “golden triangle” was coined by the cia. Along with afghanistan in the golden crescent, it has been one of the largest opium-producing areas of the world, since the 1950s. Most of the world’s heroin came from the golden triangle until the early 21st century when afghanistan became the world’s largest producer.
  34. Pandharpur wari-pandharpur wari is related to bhakti movment. It is an annual pilgrimage (yatra) to pandharpur – the seat of the hindu god vithal in palakhis (palanquin processions) carrying the paduka (foot prints) of various saints – most notably dnyaneshwar and tukaram – from the varkari(warkari, “one who performs the wari”) sect (which venerates vithal), are taken from their respective shrines to pandharpur.
  35. Basic exchange and cooperation agreement will allow india to use us geospatial maps to get pinpoint military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons such as cruise and ballistic missiles. Along with communications compatibility and security agreement (comcasa), and logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (lemoa), beca is one of the foundational military communication agreements between the two countries. Beca is an important precursor to india acquiring armed unmanned aerial vehicles such as the predator-b from the us. The pentagon in 2018 was ready to supply predator-b, which uses spatial data for accurate strikes on enemy targets, to india.
  36. Victoria has become the first state in australia to enact euthanasia laws.
  37. Bhitarkanika mangroves is a mangrove wetland in odisha, india, covering an area of 650 km in the brahmani and baitarani river deltas. Bhitarkanika mangroves were designated a ramsar wetland of international importance in 2002. The national park is surrounded by the bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary. Gahirmatha beach and marine sanctuary lies to the east. The national park was created in september 1998 from the core area of the bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary, which was created in 1975.  The sanctuary is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in india. The park is home to saltwater crocodile (crocodylus porosus), white crocodile, indian python, king cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.
  38. Kerala is gearing up for the launch of the country’s premier solar-powered cruise boat by december 2019. The initiative comes from the state water transport department (swtd), whose solar ferry aditya in the vaikom-thavanakadavu route has proved to be a success. Aditya incurs a rock-bottom energy expense of ₹200 a day, as compared to the approximately ₹8,000 needed for diesel-powered ferries. Solar vessels do not create air and noise pollution. The double-deck, double-engine catamaran-type vessel adheres to norms specified by the indian registry of shipping (irs). The vessel will have an air-conditioned lower deck and pushback seats.
  39. India ratings and research (ind-ra) is india’s most respected credit rating agency committed to providing india’s credit markets accurate, timely and prospective credit opinions. Built on a foundation of independent thinking, rigorous analytics, and an open and balanced approach towards credit research, ind-ra has grown rapidly during the past decade, gaining significant market presence in india’s fixed income market.
  40. The national anti-profiteering authority (naa) is the institutional mechanism under gst law to check the unfair profit-making activities by the trading community. The authority’s core function is to ensure that the benefits of the reduction is gst rates on goods and services made by gst council and proportional change in the input tax credit passed on to the ultimate consumers and recipient respectively by way of reduction in the prices by the suppliers. The authority’s main function is to ensure that traders are not realizing unfair profit by charging high price from consumers in the name of gst. The chairman, naa along with 4 technical members and with help of the standing committee, screening committee in every state and the directorate general of safeguards in the central board of excise & customs (cbec), will work together on the anti- profiteering front.
  41. Financial stability and development council (fsdc), an autonomous body dealing with macroprudential and financial regularities in the entire financial sector of india. Financial stability and development council is an apex-level body constituted by the government of india.the apex-level fsdc is not a statutory body. Union minister of finance and corporate affairs chaired the 20th meeting of the financial stability and development council. The council was also apprised of the progress made towards setting-up of the financial data management centre (fdmc) to facilitate integrated data aggregation and analysis as also a computer emergency response team (cert-fin) towards strengthening the cyber security framework for the financial sector.
  42. The  bonn  challenge  is  a  global  effort  to  bring  150  million  hectares  of  the  world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. It was launched in 2011 by the government of germany and iucn, and later endorsed and extended by the new york declaration on forests at the 2014 un climate summit. Underlying the bonn challenge is the forest landscape restoration (flr) approach, which aims to restore ecological integrity at the same time as improving human well-being through multifunctional landscapes. The  world  day  to  combat  desertification  and  drought  2019  theme  is  ‘let’s grow the future together’.
  43. The council also held consultations to obtain inputs/ suggestions of the financial sector regulators for the budget. The council also took note of the activities undertaken by the fsdc sub-committee chaired by governor, rbi and the action taken by members on the decisions taken in earlier meetings of the council.
  44. Indian navy launched operation sankalp in the gulf of oman to re-assure indian flagged vessels operating/ transiting through persian gulf and gulf of oman following the maritime security incidents in the region. Ins chennai & ins sunayna have been deployed in the gulf of oman and persian gulf to undertake maritime security operations.
  45. Reciprocal trade is an agreement between two countries which provide for the exchange of goods between them at lower tariffs and better terms than that exist between one of the countries and other countries.
  46. Epistocracy is a system in which the votes of people who can prove their political knowledge count more than the votes of people who can’t. In other words, it’s a system that privileges the most politically informed citizens.
  47. Called  ‘operation  sunshine-2’,  the  military  action  that  took  place  between  may  16  and june 8, is expected to give a debilitating jolt to insurgencies in the north-eastern states.at least seven to eight camps of the nscn-k, ndfb, ulfa(i), klo and neft in myanmar’s sagaing region were destroyed by the myanmar army in mortar firing.
  48. The central board of direct taxes (cbdt) is a part of department of revenue in the ministry of finance. The cbdt provides inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in india, and is also responsible for administration of direct tax laws through the it department.  The cbdt is a statutory authority functioning under the central board of revenue act, 1963. The officials of the board in their ex officio capacity also function as a division of the ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes. The cbdt is headed by chairman and also comprises six members, all of whom are ex officio special secretary to the government of india.
  49. Indrayani river is one of the important place where holy pandarpur with cultural significance is located. Indrayani river joins bhima river, which is tributary of krishna river.
  50. There are about 230 species of balsams found in India and majority of them are found in the eastern himalayas and western ghats. These species need proper conservation initiatives as they are highly vulnerable, especially to climate change. They are mostly found in stream margins, moist roadsides, near waterfalls and wet forests.
  51. Glanders is an infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium burkholderia mallei. While people can get the disease, glanders is primarily a disease affecting horses. It also affects donkeys and mules and can be naturally contracted by other mammals such as goats, dogs, and cats.
  52. India has partnered with portugal to set up a national maritime heritage museum at lothal in gujarat. A maritime museum is a museum that specializes in displaying the objects related to ships and travel on large bodies of water.
  53. World bank has released the report “global economic prospects: heightened tensions, subdued investment”. Global economic prospects is a biannual report, last one was published in january 2019. World bank has downgraded global growth prospects by 0.3% to 2.6% for the 2019-20.
  54. Chaukhandi stupa-chaukhandi stupa, an ancient buddhist site located in sarnath, uttar pradesh, has been declared as a monument and protected area of national importance by the archaeological survey of india (asi). Chaukhandi stupa is a lofty mound of brick whose square edifice is surrounded by an octagonal tower. It was built to mark the place where lord buddha met his first disciples as he traveled from bodhgaya to sarnath. The chaukhandi stupa is said to be originally a terraced temple during the gupta period, that was from 4th to 6th century. Govardhan,the son of raja todarmal gave the present shape to the chaukhandi stupa. He built an octagonal tower to commemorate the visit of humayun,the great mughal ruler.
  55. Confederation of indian industry (CII) has launched a fiscal performance index (fpi) to assess state and central budgets.
  56. Nasa’s spitzer space telescope was launched in 2003 to study the universe in the infrared. It is the last mission of the nasa great observatories program, which saw four specialized telescopes (including the hubble space telescope) launched between 1990 and 2003.
  57. Indian navy and bharat dynamics limited (bdl) have signed a contract for supply of heavyweight torpedo varunastra to indian navy. Varunastra is basically a ship-launched, electrically- propelled underwater weapon equipped with one of the most advanced automatic and remote- controlled guidance systems. It is the only torpedo in the world to have a gps- based locating aid. The anti-submarine electric torpedo when fired can travel at 40 knots, or 74 kmph. The operational range is 40 km and it can carry a warhead weighing 250 kg.
  58. Gee’s golden langur is a leaf-eating monkey found only in north-eastern india and bhutan. It is currently marked endangered in the iucn list. It inhabits evergreen and deciduous tropical forests. Like most fruit eating primates, they play a vital role in forest repopulation i.e via seed dispersal, seed predation, and pollination.
  59. Canada’s radarsat constellation mission (rcm) was launched successfully into space aboard a spacex falcon 9 rocket from vandenberg air force base, california. It will have daily access to 90 percent of the world’s surface. The radarsat constellation mission will provide improved data for the critical services our government provides to canadians, including monitoring climate change, protecting the health of our oceans, forests and crops; and supporting our first responders’ disaster relief efforts.
  60. Supersonic cruise missile brahmos was test fired from the integrated test range (itr) at chandipur in odisha. Anti-ship version of the missile launched by complex-3 of the itr, defence research and development (drdo) sources.
  61. In a bid to cultivate, promote and enhance opportunities on business, academic and cultural fronts between kobe in japan and ahmedabad in gujarat, india, a sister-city agreement has been inked between the two cities. This agreement will formalize the relationship between the two cities, both of which are unique in their own ways. While kobe is the creative design city of asia, ahmedabad is india’s first world heritage city. Kobe is located in the hyogo prefecture in japan. Pm narendramodi and japanese pm shinzo abe have also inked a sister-state agreement for gujarat and hyogo prefecture.
  62. Abujh marias-the chhattisgarh government is processing habitat rights for abujh marias, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (pvtg). Apart from the tribals getting their dues as laid down by the scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers (recognition of forest rights) act, 2006, this move by the bhupesh baghel government is significant otherwise. Abujhmarh, where this tribe lives, is considered by the government to be one of the last remaining strongholds of left-wing extremism. Habitat is defined under the act as, “the area comprising the customary habitat and such other habitats in reserved forests and protected forests of primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities and other forest dwelling scheduled tribes.”
  63. The windrush scheme enables commonwealth citizens, their children, and some other long term residents of the uk to obtain documentation confirming their status free of charge. The windrush generation refers to citizens of former british colonies who arrived before 1973, when the rights of such commonwealth citizens to live and work in britain were substantially curtailed.
  64. WHOlaunches tool for safer use of antibiotics, curb resistance- aware. It is an online tool aimed at guiding policy-makers and health workers to use antibiotics safely and more effectively.
  65. Formerly under the ministry of human resources development, jan shikshan sansthan was transferred to the ministry of skill development & entrepreneurship in 2018. Jan shikshan sansthans (jss) were established to provide vocational training to non-literate, neo-literate, as well as school dropouts by identifying skills as would have a market in the region of their establishment. The jsss are unique, they link literacy with vocational skills and provide large doses of life enrichment Education (lee) to the people.
  66. Ranjit singh-a statue of ranjit singh, who ruled punjab for almost four decades (1801-39), was inaugurated in lahore. June 27 is his death anniversary. His legacy endures for punjabis around the world: Ranjit singh was born on november 13, 1780 in gujranwala, now in pakistan. At that time, punjab was ruled by powerful chieftains who had divided the territory into misls. Ranjit singh overthrew the warring misls and established a unified sikh empire after he conquered lahore in 1799. He was given the title lion of punjab (sher-e-punjab) because he stemmed the tide of afghan invaders in lahore, which remained his capital until his death. His general hari singh nalwa built the fort of jamrud at the mouth of the khyber pass, the route the foreign rulers took to invade india. At the time of his death, he was the only sovereign leader left in india, all others having come under the control of the east india company in some way or the other. He combined the strong points of the traditional khalsa army with western advances in warfare to raise asia’s most powerful indigenous army of that time. He also employed a large number of european officers, especially french, to train his troops. He appointed french general jean franquis allard to modernise his army. In 2016, the town of st tropez unveiled the maharaja’s bronze statue as a mark of respect. Dr indu banga, professor emerita of history at panjab university, said ranjit singh’s army was a match for the one raised by the east india company. During the battle of chillianwala, the second of the anglo-sikh wars that followed ranjit singh’s death, the british suffered the maximum casualties of officers in their entire history in india, says banga. Ranjit singh’s trans-regional empire spread over several states. His empire included the former mughal provinces of lahore and multan besides part of kabul and the entire peshawar. The boundaries of his state went up to ladakh — zorawar singh, a general from jammu, had conquered ladakh in ranjit singh’s name — in the northeast, khyber pass in the northwest, and up to panjnad in the south where the five rivers of punjab fell into the indus. During his regime, punjab was a land of six rivers, the sixth being the indus. The maharaja was known for his just and secular rule; both hindus and muslims were given powerful positions in his darbar. The sikhs take pride in him for he turned harimandir sahib at amritsar into the golden temple by covering it with gold. Right at the doorstep of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple is a plaque that details how in 1830 ad, the maharaja did sewa over 10 years. He is also credited with funding hazoor sahib gurudwara at the final resting place of guru gobind singh in nanded, maharashtra. Today, his throne is displayed prominently at the victoria and albert museum in london. Exhibitions on his rule are frequent in western countries home to the punjabi diaspora. Last year, london hosted an exhibition that focused on the history of the sikh empire and the international relations forged by the maharaja.